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First drive: Audi A4 Avant – on sale now



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Audi was one of the first carmakers to veer away from estate branding in favour of something thought to be more emotive. Hence the Avant.

The A4 Avant, the smallest ‘estate’ in the Audi range, has much less boot space (442 litres or 1,184 with rear seats down) than full blown load-lugging variants such as Vectra (540/1,850 litres), Mondeo (540/1,700 litres) and Passat (603/1,731 litres).

Even in its own class, against rivals like the BMW 3-series Touring, Mercedes C-class estate, Volvo V50 and Jaguar X-type estate, the A4 Avant is the smallest – in fact its capacity is even lower than the A4 saloon (460 litres) with the seats up.

So, few people will buy this car solely for the boot space. Most will already be interested in an Audi but want more flexibility than that offered by the saloon.

With Avant’s rear seats down, the extra space will swallow more luggage for two people, or leisure/sports equipment for the active couple. But it isn’t space that is required all the time.

The Avant’s boot load area has two floors. With the upper level closed, the capacity is 377 litres; with the floor partially open, capacity rises to 422 litres; and with the upper level removed the capacity hits the 442-litre maximum. The tailgate opens automatically at the press of a button. It’s a useful hands free option, although the speed of opening could be a bit quicker.

Avant’s torquey 2.0-litre 168bhp diesel is probably the pick, but the 2.0 138bhp on test proved to be a thoroughly capable unit, pushing 62mph in just under 10secs with a combined fuel consumption of 47.9mpg.

Price: £23,635
Engine: 2.0-litre 138bhp 236lb ft TDI
Performance: 0-62mph 9.9secs; top speed 128mph
Efficiency: 47.9mpg; 158g/km CO2
CAP RV: £10,975 (45%)
Rivals: 3-series Touring, C-class estate, X-type estate
Strength: Performance, looks
Weakness: Small boot
Opportunity: Retain estate buyers
Threat: Others offer more space
USP: Small, sporty estate

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